/ Motoring, Technology

Built-in sat nav updates: destination expensive

A single map update for a sat nav that’s built into a car can cost nine times as much as an update for a portable sat nav, our latest investigation has found. So is everyone better off buying off-the-shelf sat navs?

The crux of our research implies they are.

Not only were we quoted extremely high prices for single map updates from dealers, we were also given conflicting information about what the updates included and how you perform the update itself.

Wild variation in update prices

One BMW dealer, for example, quoted us £175 for an update to a BMW 5 Series satellite navigation system, telling us we could perform the update ourselves using a special code.

However, for exactly the same car, a different UK dealership quoted us £375, claiming the software update had to be carried out at the garage by a technician, which was included in the overall cost.

One Nissan dealer initially told us a sat nav update for a Note MPV would cost £8, only to inform us it would actually be £156 when we phoned back to double check the price.

And one Volkswagen dealer quoted us £220 for a one-off update to a Golf sat nav, and then advised we’d be better off upgrading to a new Kenwood system, at the price of £998!

Are built-in sat navs really worth it?

With portable sat nav manufacturers like Tom Tom, Garmin, Navigon and Mio offering navigation updates for anything between £40 and £80, it makes me question if it’s really worth the additional cost of having a built-in sat nav and keeping it up to date.

However, there are good examples from our findings. And these come from the most modern of systems we inquired about. Like the 2011 Toyota Yaris, which most dealers informed us could be updated at no additional cost.

And with portable sat nav manufacturers now joining up with carmakers to offer their systems as built-in options, like the Fiat 500’s TomTom navigation, you shouldn’t have to pay any more than you would to update one of their portable offerings.

There are some benefits to having a sat nav that’s built into your car as well. They’re much more secure and difficult to steal, offer better sound quality through the car speakers, and can make some high-end cars easier to sell on later.

But is this enough to warrant the high price of having them in the first place, and the cost and hassle of keeping them up to date, when portable versions are much more cost effective?

Mike Coates says:
10 June 2016

Why does it now cost so much more for a built in sat nav update, than a non built in one


Mike you could say its because of greed and you would be probably right . Many car manufacturers buy in OEM versions of car electronic entertainment /data systems while others upmarket use expensive makes . A lot tailored to their spec. But if you go to a website like- satnavdvd.co.uk you can get an update for most cars for £ 25 on dvd-cd-hdd-SD

Stephen says:
13 October 2016

I’ve seen this discussion, I’ve been using sat nav systems for such a very long time. You got to understand that the in built sat navs are far more out off date than most people think. TomTom uses data thats about a year old. in built systems buys there data from up to 2 years. I find it funny I have a nissan note and I had a discussion with a chat on nissan and found that they bought Q3/2015 map data, its October 2016 by their website that map data is already out off date, I questioned why so high the cost and I got production cost which is another rubbish excuse . Nissan Note map update £149 for an old out off date map, by there own website they are false advertising a product that is out of date before you even buy it.

I have for a while used Waza on my phone for sat navs, its like a social network on the road, traffic updates beat all other sat navs hands down. cost Free.

Come on Nissan Beat that


Junctions sometimes change and the occasional new section of highway is built but the road system is probably 99% static nowadays. How necessary is it for the mapping to be updated frequently? The main navigational difficulties seem to be in urban areas with new road closures, ‘no-entry’, and banned turns, but the closer one is to the final destination the more necessary it is to read the road signs as these changes can occur overnight.

Mike says:
2 February 2017

Is it possible somehow link my much superior mobile phone sat nav into my conveniently laid out.

. but out of date and generally poor built in sat nav via bluetooth. (Ford Focus 2015)


Hope you work that out. Just been told it will cost about £200 to update maps on used Focus I was thinking of buying. Sat Nav is now off the “would be nice to have” list.

Norman says:
28 May 2018

I am about to take delivery of a Fiesta with factory fitted sat nav. If the updates cost much I shall continue to use my Garmin Nuvi (Large Screen) which has free lifetime map and traffic updates. Plus, those updates come Free through my home wi-fi.